Stone of stumbling and rock of offense (wordweaverlynn) wrote,
Stone of stumbling and rock of offense
wordweaverlynn

The Annual Christmas Poem

This post is about my own beliefs. I know the cultural hegemony of the Christian holidays can be overwhelming. I'm a Christian, both by faith and culture, and I find it a test of my faith and patience to endure the blare of Christmas songs, the crush of Christmas shoppers, the forced jollity of office parties. I can only imagine what a mess it must be for people whose own traditions and beliefs are swamped and belittled. It wasn't atheists or Muslims or Buddhists who took the real spirit of Christ out of Christmas. It was us.

So I'll put the poem behind a cut.


The House of Christmas

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay on their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost - how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky's dome.

This world is wild as an old wives' tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.
--G. K. Chesterton


2008: selection from "For the Time Being" by W. H. Auden
2007: A Christmas Carol by G. K. Chesterton
2006: The Journey of the Magi by T. S. Eliot
2005: The Stable by Sr. M. Chrysostom, OSB
2004: no poem, but a meditation of my own
2003: The Guest: A Christmas Prayer by Harold Monro
2002: no poem, but a meditation of my own

In the chill and long nights of winter (for those in the northern hemisphere), let us rejoice that the light comes back. And always let us remember that even the most unpromising start can lead to great things.
Tags: annual christmas poem
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